New Thai T-6TH Texan II fleet nears production completion

TEXTRON AVIATION Defense announced on November 18 that the fleet of 12 Beechcraft T-6TH Texan IIs ordered for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is nearing manufacturing completion and surpassing technical inspection milestones ahead of schedule at its Wichita, Kansas, facilities. Under an $162 million contract announced by the US manufacturer on September 26, 2020, 12 T-6C Texan IIs (locally designated the T-6TH) were ordered, along with ground-based training systems for pilots and maintenance professionals, a mission planning and debrief system, spare parts and ground support equipment.

New Thai T-6THs in production
Two of the 12 new T-6TH Texan IIs for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) being inspected by Thai officials at the factory in Wichita, Kansas, in mid-November. Textron Aviation Defence

Betsy Relph, the Textron Aviation Defense T-6 program manager for Thailand, said: “The Royal Thai Air Force is eager to equip its cadre of student pilots with the Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II aircraft. We showcased all 12 of the aircraft during a recent visit from the RTAF acceptance committee and are especially proud that RTAF Air Chief Marshal Chanon Mungthanya was here to fly the T-6.”

The aircraft are due to arrive at the RTAF Flying Training School at Kamphaeng Saen Air Base between late 2022 and early 2023. Textron says they are on schedule as they progress down the production line. The T-6TH Texan II holds the distinction of being the first RTAF procurement contracted in support of S-Curve 11, a Thai plan that focuses on the modernization of key capabilities and promotes the development of the Thai defense industry.

RTAF Air Chief Marshal Chanon Mungthanya said: “Flying the RTAF Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II from the historic hangar where the entire global fleet of T-6 aircraft are manufactured was a very memorable milestone. These aircraft will equip our students with a significant technological advantage in preparation for their transition to advanced fighter and attack aircraft.”

The RTAF also recently awarded Textron Aviation Defense a $143 million contract for an Integrated System, including eight Beechcraft AT-6TH Wolverines, in support of the 41st Wing light attack operations at Chiang Mai Air Base. The deal, announced on November 14, was also completed under the S-Curve 11 plan,

To date, the T-6 Texan II has logged more than 4.6 million flight hours across a global fleet of nearly 1,000 aircraft and achieves daily readiness rates of up to 91% among the Textron Aviation Defense-supported international T-6 fleet. Each year more than 300 pilots from 42 countries graduate from T-6 training via the NATO Flight Training program in Canada, the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT) at Sheppard AFB in Texas and the US Air Force Aviation Leadership Program. Another 2,000-plus pilots graduate from T-6 programs across the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps, US Army and US Coast Guard while more than 2,700 pilots graduate from T-6 programs across the Hellenic Air Force, the Argentine Air Force, the Israeli Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the Iraqi Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, Mexican Navy, the Mexican Air Force, the Royal Moroccan Air Force, the Colombian Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.